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Several States Break Records for Most Deaths in One Day; Trump Again Touts Unproven Drug Hydroxychloroquine; Biden Slams Trump's Handling of Pandemic. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 29, 2020 - 04:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, several states are reporting record coronavirus deaths and President Donald Trump is once again touting an unproven drug.

Russia says it aims to approve a COVID-19 vaccine in the next two weeks. We will be in Moscow with our exclusive reporting. And Europe is worried. The British Prime Minister says the continent is seeing a second wave of cases. We have more from Germany where numbers are shooting up again.

Thanks for joining us. Well several states saw a record-breaking number of deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday. Nationwide the U.S. saw more than 1,200 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours. That's according to Johns Hopkins University. And more than half the country reported more deaths in the past week than the previous one. The good news is Dr. Anthony Fauci believes the surge may be peaking in the South and West. But now other states in the Central U.S. could see their outbreaks grow. More now from CNN's Nick Watt.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day Florida started to reopen May 4th there were 819 new cases confirmed in the state. Today 11 times that. 9,210 and the state's highest death toll to date.

DAN GELBER, MIAMI BEACH , FLORIDA MAYOR: We've got to get the virus down. We've got to get the contact tracing in place. We've learned that we didn't have enough people at all to sort of even call people up and say you need to quarantine. Who else were you with?

WATT: The city of Miami now offering free tests for kids across the state. Cases in children and teens have climbed. But across the country many test results are still taking so long that they're basically worthless.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We just can't afford yet again another surge. If you are trying to open up, please do it in a way that's in accordance with the guidelines.

WATT: Along with that Sunbelt surge concern they are moving north. Average daily case counts higher than ever. In Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee, where despite this plea from Dr. Deborah Birx.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: Stop going to bars and indeed close the bars.

WATT: The governor just won't. Many places this now also a major concern. Crowds of unmasked concert goers in Colorado. A drive-in chain smokers' gig in swanky Southampton, New York. But people got out of their cars and mingled unmasked.


Videos like this sparked an investigation.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: It was a gross violation of common sense.

WATT: New Jersey cops say they spent hours breaking up a 700 strong mansion party at an Airbnb rental.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're looking for trouble. You're absolutely looking for trouble.

WATT: Meanwhile, for more Miami Marlins have tested positive, according to ESPN. All their games this week now postponed. The Yankees-Phillies series also postponed.

ROB MANFRED, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER: A team losing a number of players that rendered a completely noncompetitive would be an issue that we would have to address. Whether that was shutting down a part of the season, the whole season.

WATT: And football pre-season games have been cancelled. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced in an open letter the regular season still on but every player and coach currently subject to daily tests. According to Goodell, this process has not been easy.

(on camera): Here in California there was excitement Tuesday. Only 6,000 or so new cases reported by the state. Well below the 9,000 plus average we've been seeing recently. And then a state official came out and said hang on, we think that there might be a delay in some reporting and that's why the number is so low. California still really in the thick of this.

Nic Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: Meanwhile U.S. President Donald Trump is once again touting the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment. The U.S. President resumed his "Daily News" briefing on Tuesday and that's where he defended telling Americans to take hydroxychloroquine despite almost every major study finding it ineffective for COVID-19 and potentially harmful.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I happen to think it's -- it works in the early stages. And front-line medical people believe that too. Some, many. And so we'll take a look at it. But the one thing we know it's been out for a longtime. It doesn't cause problems. I had no problems. I had absolutely no problems. Felt no different. Didn't feel good, bad or indifferent. And I tested, as you know. It didn't get me and it's not going to, hopefully hurt anybody.


CHURCH: And the President's statements again seem to be at odds with his own administration.


FAUCI: The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.


CHURCH: Well the White House was hoping the President's briefings would demonstrate leadership during this crisis and boost his approval ratings but he ended his briefing abruptly on Tuesday after CNN pressed him about his sharing of coronavirus misinformation on Twitter. Our Kaitlan Collins asked Mr. Trump about false claims made by a controversial doctor whom the President amplified online. Take a listen.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, the woman that you said a great doctor in that video that you retweeted last night said that masks don't work and there's a cure for COVID-19. Both of which health experts say is not true. She's also (INAUDIBLE) that is saying that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens and that they're trying to create a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious.

TRUMP: Well maybe it's a sign, maybe it's not. But I can tell you this. She was on air along with many other doctors. They were big fans of hydroxychloroquine and I thought she was very impressive in the sense that from where she came, I don't know which country she comes from but she said that she's had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients and I thought her voice was an important voice but I know nothing about her.

Collins: Last week --

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Well presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is taking another swipe at President Trump's handling of the pandemic and race relations. Biden's campaign remarks part of an ongoing strategy to show how vastly different he is from the President.


JOE BIDEN, PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump faces a real test and he's failed it. The basic threshold of being President. The duty to care for the entire country, not just his re- election prospects. He's shown that he can't beat the pandemic and keep you safe. He can't turn the economy around to get America back to work. And he is finally and not surprisingly intentionally stoking the flames of division and racism in this country.



CHURCH: And during that event Biden also unveiled his plan to pump stimulus spending into minority owned businesses and he wants to advance first-time homeowners $15,000 refundable tax credit as part of an economic plan focused on racial equality.

And now to a CNN exclusive. The world could he see the first coronavirus vaccine approved in less than two weeks in Russia. Officials there say they intend to approve the vaccine for public use by August 10th or earlier. Front line health care workers would be first vaccinated and that would happen at the same time as phase three of human trials.

Matthew Chance is live in Moscow with this exclusive report. He joins us now. Matthew, a lot of eyebrows being raised. How is this even possible?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right. There are a lot of eyebrows being raised and of course there's wide skepticism about the safety and effectiveness of this Russian vaccine. And the speed at which, due to fact partly, the speed of which they've managed to apparently get to the point where they're prepared to approve this. So Russian officials telling us yesterday that the 10th of August -- as you just mentioned -- is the date that they're intending to give approval for this to be administered to the general public in the country and possibly even before that.

And so you know obviously, details are going to be, you know, made more clear as we advance towards that period. Of course it's not very far away at all. Why is it so quick? Well, you know, Russian officials say it's because of the technology they are using. They used this sort of vaccine manufacturing platform before in the case of Ebola. So he they got clinical experience with developing new vaccines. And they simply tweaked what they used before to make it appropriate for coronavirus. That's what they say.

But you can't escape the fact as well that one of the reasons that Russia is advancing so quickly towards this point is that, you know, the normal conventions of human trials are being ignored right from the outset. I mean, before human trials formally began, the Russian scientists that were developing this pilot vaccine were injecting themselves and their staff to test it firsthand.

And then, of course, Russian volunteers who were members of the Russian military were used in the first-round of testing and now you're getting that sort of unusual situation and risky situation where the final very crucial third phase of human trials. Which sort of assesses the overall safety and effectiveness of the vaccine are being run in parallel to the drug being approved and administered in the first case to front line health workers.

So, you know, it's a risky strategy. But you know, given the acute problem with coronavirus in this country, remember Russia is the country with the fourth highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, it's clearly a risk at this stage that the Russian authorities are happy to take.

CHURCH: And we will continue to watch, to see what happens August 10th. Of course, we will be looking at that date and see whether this very much is a success and what the reaction is. Matthew Chance, many thanks to you.

Well just when it seemed like Europe was getting the pandemic under control the virus is spreading once again sparking fears of a possible second wave. We'll take a look at that.



CHURCH: Fears of a second wave are gripping Europe ever successfully flattening the curve. Leaders are scrambling amid spikes throughout the continent. Germany has now followed the U.K.'s lead advising against travel to Spain. Despite the clear emergence of new outbreaks Spanish authorities want the U.K. and Germany to reconsider. At the start of the pandemic the British government was accused of acting too slowly. Boris Johnson defended the quick decision with Spain and warned Europe could be on the verge of a dreaded second wave.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: These are decisions for families, for individuals about where they want to go. And what we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again. And let's be absolutely clear about what's happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends. I'm afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.


CHURCH: And in Germany health officials say a recent spike in cases there is very disturbing. We turn to our Frederik Pleitgen who joins us from Berlin. So Fred, how is Germany responding to these increased cases? What actions is it taking? FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there,

Rosemary. Well first of all, to put it in perspective, the Germans right now are sounding the alarm bells and they really have been very, very cautious about all this. They say one of the reasons is that they had those around 800 infections on two subsequent days at the end of last week.

But in general there saying right now the big problem that they're seeing here in this country is that they are seeing more infections in a broader area of the country. Germany, like many other countries, has a color-coded system for the number of coronavirus infections. It's green, yellow, and red. And they're seeing on the map of Germany, they're seeing more and more districts that are dipping into the yellows. Which means there are more infections in those areas which makes it more difficult to contact trace where the coronavirus is coming from and thus combat the coronavirus.

Now the Germans are also saying that they're not sure whether this is already a second wave but they do see that danger. I want to listen in to what the head of Germany's Center for Disease Control, Lothar Wieler, said about this yesterday.


LOTHAR WIELER, ROBERT KOCH INSTITUTE DIRECTOR (through translator): We don't know whether this is the beginning of a second wave but it could be. It begins with the rise in numbers. I'm optimistic and I believe that if we stay to these AHA rules, we can stop that from happening.


So again, I will say, we can do this. It really depends on us.


PLEITGEN: The Germans are saying they have it in their own hands. And one of the things that they continue to say is they believe it's very important to trust in science and to use the measures that have already been put in place to get out of this. Essentially what the Center for Disease Control is saying, they believe that some people may have gotten a bit lax in enforcing some of the rules that are in place like distancing, like sanitizing, and of course the first and foremost, wearing masks inside as well. And they're calling on people to do that very, very stringently to try and get the numbers of infections down to what they consider an acceptable level. Which is between about 300 and 500 new infections every day.

And then the other thing of course, Rosemary, that has happened here on the continent is that more people have been travelling on the continent. And there also seeing that as a problem as well. People essentially bringing the coronavirus back with them after having been abroad. And so what's going to start next week, is that the Germans are going to make tests mandatory for people who come back from what they call high-risk countries which includes also the United States.

But they also want to make it easier and free for people who return from so-called low risk countries like for instance, other countries in the European Union just to make sure that they try and squelch what they see in this new rise of infection before it's something that could get out of control like they say the way it has, for instance, in the United States -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Exactly. We have to stay ever vigilante and certainly that's what's happening in Germany. It's a lesson to those of us living in the United States. Frederik Pleitgen, many thanks for joining us.

Well, China has reported more than 100 new cases of the coronavirus in a single day for the first time since April. The national health commission says nearly all of the new infections were locally transmitted and the majority are grouped in the western province of Xinjiang.

Well Islam's most important annual pilgrimage is underway. But with only a fraction of the usual number of worshipers due to the pandemic. Saudi Arabia has put a new crowd control measures for the Hajj this year including barring international visitors. And you can see the difference in crowds this year compared to a few years ago. The kingdom has the highest number of known COVID-19 infections in the Arab world.

And CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins me now from Istanbul, Turkey to talk more about this. Good to see you, Jomana. So course, despite the reduced number of worshippers we're still talking about a lot of people in attendance. So how is Saudi Arabia ensuring that everyone there is safe?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well they say, Rosemary, that they've put in strict hygiene measures in place. They've put social distancing measures also that are being enforced. But you know, what is remarkable here, if you look at the images that are coming out of Mecca right now, this is absolutely stunning. We've not seen anything like this in modern history.

You know the Hajj is a time where about more than 2 million people from around the world head to Saudi Arabia, to Mecca to take part in what is one of the five pillars of Islam, an obligation for all Muslims who are financially capable, who are physically able to take part in at least once in their lifetime. And what we're seeing right now is about a thousand people, this is according to what Saudi officials said they would allow, who are taking part in the pilgrimage this year. It is really looking like a symbolic Hajj.

They did consider at one point cancelling it all together but they opted for this down sized Hajj and most who have been selected to take part, they've gone through this rigorous selection process. They are Saudis and foreigners, 70 percent of them foreigners who are residing in Saudi Arabia. They're between the ages of 20 and 50. They can't have any chronic illnesses. They've had to go through medical checks and COVID testing. They've had to self-isolate before the pilgrimage and will be also quarantining afterwards.

And, you know, over the past few days the Saudi authorities have been releasing these pictures that we've seen of cleaners working around the clock disinfecting all the areas around the holy sites, around the Kaaba, and Grand Mosque among other sites there. They're really not taking any risks here. As you mentioned this is, you know, Saudi Arabia does have the highest number of confirmed infections in the Arab world, one of the highest in the region with more than a quarter million confirmed cases.

But really, really remarkable, Rosemary if you compare the images we're seeing now to previous years where you would have the hundreds of thousands of people, that sea of humanity crowding around these sites.

You know, they've had to deal with deadly stampedes in the past. And right now you have what looks like a very organized symbolic Hajj.


People are spaced out as they go ahead with their pilgrimage. And as you can imagine there are so many Muslims around the world who are devastated, heartbroken that they will not be able to take part in it this year. So many save up their entire lives waiting for this opportunity to take part in this key pilgrimage.

CHURCH: Yes, incredible. And those measures being put in place are simply spectacular. Jomana Karadsheh, many thanks to you joining us from Istanbul.

So let's take a look at some key developments around the world. Japan has seen a record daily high with 981 coronavirus cases on Tuesday. The country has just over 32,000 cases in total. Australia's state of Victoria reported another 295 cases the same day. The state Premier called this a second wave fueled by outbreaks in workplaces. And India's confirmed cases have skyrocketed. They've seen an increase of 500,000 in less than two weeks bringing the total number of cases there to more than 1.5 million.

And coming up, partisan politics on full display in Washington as Democrats clash with U.S. Attorney General William Barr. We'll have the details next.


CHURCH: A contentious hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday as U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr clashed with Democrats and pushed back on assertions that he has politicized the Justice Department to defend President Trump. Jessica Schneider has the details.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bill Barr standing his ground.

BILL BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The President has not attempted to interfere in these decisions.